Better Brakes for Less: Dynatrac JK ProGrip Review
Throughout our years of building Jeeps and trucks, we’ve learned that one critical system all too often gets overlooked—the brakes. While the street side of the automotive hobby has plenty of performance braking options, the truck side is often left with fewer choices. The ones that are available are typically extremely expensive or frontend only. Thankfully, there’s an excellent, and extremely affordable, braking upgrade for JK owners looking to get better stopping power from their 2007 to 2017 Jeep Wrangler.
It’s called the ProGrip system and it’s from Dynatrac. Yes, this is the same Dynatrac that revolutionized the axle industry with its legendary ProRock 60 differential. While Dynatrac has offered an assortment of JK-specific axle upgrades for years, its ProGrip system specifically targets the JK’s braking system. What makes its kit stand out from others is that you don’t have to break into your Jeeps hydraulic system. This means you can avoid the complicated and expensive master cylinder upgrade that’s required with other JK big brake upgrades.
In fact, you won’t have to bleed a single brake line since you’ll be retaining the stock calipers. Yes. You read that correctly. It’s a big brake kit that doesn’t require you to change calipers. So, how exactly does it work? Well, we’ve put together the video above to walk you through the ProGrip kit on our 2013 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited Rubicon. To offer even more insight, we’re breaking down the details of the system in the article below.
Dynatrac’s ProGrip system is designed to work with all 2007 to 2017 Jeep Wranglers. Included with the kit are front and rear rotors, caliper brackets and new pads. While it’s possible to just purchase the front, we would highly recommend getting the entire kit as it was engineered to work as a four-wheel system.
Bigger Is Better
The key ingredient to the Dynatrac ProGrip system is the larger rotor. Up front, it moves from the stock 11.9-inch diameter rotor to one that’s 13.5 inches. A larger rotor not only equates to more surface area for the pads to clamp to, but more importantly, it increases leverage. To ensure the rotors stay cool and spinning true, Dynatrac uses a pillar-style venting system.
Dynatrac tested a variety of brake pad materials before landing on the right one. The goal was to find the ideal friction material to properly balance braking performance and longevity.
Installing the ProGrips
Given the increased rotor diameter, new caliper brackets are used to secure the stock calipers in place. A common issue when installing a larger caliper is that the JK’s stock brake master cylinder typically can’t keep up with the larger fluid demand. Keeping the stock calipers allowed us to retain a factory pedal feel, which now takes less input to be effective thanks to the larger rotors.
The Dynatrac ProGrip system is designed as a four-wheel braking upgrade. This helps keep braking events even, thus lessening the nose-dive effect. The Dynatrac rear rotors measure an impressive 14.25 inches and are designed to accommodate the stock parking brake.
Dynatrac states this system is will work with most 17-inch wheels and can be used with the stock 17-inch wheels when paired with a wheel spacer. The company even has a template that you can print out from its website to ensure your wheel set will clear without any issues. We’re running a 17x9 Jesse Spade wheel from Rugged Ridge, which worked fine.
How They Performed
With a 4:1 low range and 5.13 differential gears, the brake upgrade makes the Jeep easier to control on the trail. In higher speed off-road sections, we found the brakes to be exponentially more effective over stock in the dirt.
On-road is really where you’re going to be thankful that you purchased the ProGrip system. Dynatrac states you’ll notice a 30-percent improvement over stock at a variety of braking speeds. We think that’s true and then some. While 30 percent might not sound like night-and-day, it can equate to a few car lengths of stopping distance. This could save your hide in more ways than one.
Our JK isn’t overrun with a lot of heavy aftermarket accessories, but the 37-inch-tall Nitto Ridge Grapplers run true to size, making for one healthy contact pattern. We’ve pushed the system pretty hard so far and haven’t experienced any quirkiness from the ABS system. Overall, for ease of install and real-world performance, we couldn’t be happier. While we wouldn’t consider $1,000 dirt cheap, it is money well spent if you’ve equipped your Jeep with oversized treads and gear.